Sporting Lisbon coach Jose Peseiro argues that facing Arsenal is a good thing right now, as it will motivate his players to perform at their best.
Arsenal will travel to Portugal to face Sporting in the Europa League on Thursday, looking for a third win in three group stage games.
It’s probably the biggest match of the group for Arsenal. They’ll expect to get a result in the home fixture and to beat Vorskla and Qarabag, so this game could make the difference between first and second place. Sporting are definitely up for it if their manager’s comments are anything to go by.
“To face Arsenal is good, the motivation is sure to be 100%,” Peseiro said. “Let’s outline the strategy to win because we want to be first in this group. We know that Arsenal are the favourites, but it’s one thing to be a favourite and another to do it.
“Winning this game we will be very close to achieving qualification. After passing the group stage, anything can happen. It depends on the moments and the opponents we will have to face, but always with the utmost ambition.”
Arsenal are on a run of 10 consecutive wins at the moment, but Sporting’s form isn’t quite that impressive. They won a cup match at the weekend against lower league Loures, but they lost their previous league game against Portimonense 4-2.
Nonetheless, like Arsenal, they’ve got two wins in two games to their name in the Europa League. Their top scorer in all competitions is midfielder Bruno Fernandes, with five goals to his name, so he’s one to watch out for. Former Manchester United winger Nani is next on the list with four.
Let’s hope Unai Emery’s side are just as motivated to keep winning.